'Stay vigilant': Chinese official's 'serious' warning about Australia

Tom Flanagan
·News Reporter
·2-min read

A Chinese diplomat in Canberra has warned Chinese nationals to "seriously consider" living in Australia and whether they wish to invest here, according to Beijing's English-language mouthpiece.

Speaking on the guarantee of anonymity, the diplomat from the Chinese Embassy told state-run Global Times it was vital current Chinese expatriates were "vigilant" to threats to their safety.

Such a warning echoes the bold moves from China's education and tourism ministries amid an ugly back-and-forth last year with Canberra in which they told tourists and students not to travel to Australia over fears of a surge in racist attacks.

"Discrimination against Chinese in Australia has increased significantly because of the tension caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and the antagonism between Canberra and Beijing," reporter Mu Zixi explained.

The publication claims discrimination of Asians in Australia is often neglected and ignored by the government and Australian citizens.

A diplomat from China's Australian embassy has spoken out about discrimination Chinese people are facing here. Source: AAP
A diplomat from China's Australian embassy has spoken out about discrimination Chinese people are facing here. Source: AAP

It comes in the wake of a damning Lowy Institute report that revealed one in five Chinese-Australians say they have been physically threatened or attacked in the previous 12 months, while one in three felt they had been treated poorly.

In response, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin told reporters it was time for Australia to "own up" to its racism problem.

Weeks earlier, the Global Times warned Australia was among a collection of nations posing the "most serious white supremacy threat" globally.

The publication on Tuesday warned Chinese-Australians and those looking to invest in China were wrongly being discriminated against as part of new foreign investment laws implemented, according to the federal government, to protect national security.

And such tight control now enforced by the government appears to be taking an immediate effect with Chinese investment in Australia down more than 60 per cent last year, ANU's Chinese Investment in Australia Database revealed.

China refutes 'groundless accusations'

One recent case where a Chinese businessman was under investigation for espionage prompted China's Consulate General in Melbourne to warn it would not accept "any groundless accusations".

While the federal government's tough stance on several Chinese matters has divided opinion in Australia, former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull on Tuesday encouraged Australia to continue to fight back with the assistance of fellow Quad members India, the US and Japan.

"Giving into coercion only invites more of it," he warned.

China’s Deputy Head of Mission in Australia Wang Xining warned earlier this month it had become "really difficult to be China's friend in Australia".

He branded accusations of coercion levelled against Chinese nationals as "totally ridiculous".

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